Day 5: The Practice of Being Uncomfortable and Embracing the Unknown

Video, Audio and Written Guides for Morning and Evening Prayer

Morning Prayer

Video podcast release TBD

OPENING PRAYER
We gather this morning to remember how the pilgrimage we are on is not on behalf of upholding the status quo, but of disrupting our old patterns and habits in service of something new breaking through. We will inevitably encounter discomfort and unknowing along the way and ask the God of radical hospitality to support us in welcoming in the stranger, as St. Benedict wisely counselled.

OPENING SONG
Welcome in the Stranger
Welcome in the stranger through the door of your heart.

FIRST READING: Barbara Holmes
The human task is threefold. First, the human spirit must connect to the Eternal by turning toward God’s immanence and ineffability with yearning. Second, each person must explore the inner reality of his or her humanity, facing unmet potential and catastrophic failure with unmitigated honesty and grace. Finally, each one of us must face the unlovable neighbor, the enemy outside of our embrace, and the shadow skulking in the recesses of our own hearts.

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Justice open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 71:4-11
My God, rescue me, from the hand of the wicked,
from the clutch of the cruel and the ruthless.
For you are my hope, Sovereign, WORTHY ONE,
my trust, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from birth;
from my mother’s belly, you cut me.
You will I praise for all time.
As a portent have I served to many,
yet you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
all the day, with your glory.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
when my strength is spent, do not forsake me.
For my enemies speak about me,
and those who watch my life take counsel together.
They say, “Pursue and seize them,
God has forsaken them,
for there is none to deliver.”

SUNG DOXOLOGY
Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

SCRIPTURE READING: John 4:7-9a, 10
A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, “How can you, a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman, for a drink?” Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”

SILENT CONTEMPLATION

PRAYERS OF CONCERN
God of Mystery, sometimes we can’t see where we are or where we’re going. It’s as if we’re driving at night in the pouring rain. Strengthen our faith at times when the road before us is barely visible, and we don’t know the curves on the winding roads, the unexpected hills, or the dangerous side ditches ahead of us. Make the way clear, or simply give the courage and will to keep going, knowing that in all of this we are following you, who has never left us alone.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you rest with us in mystery.

We are not meant to travel by ourselves, lone and lonely souls. Thank you for other pilgrims along the way, warm, strong hands to hold on our way to destinations unknown. It is you that we trust in, though you are cloaked in mystery. You walk beside us to catch us when we stumble, and when we fall down, you are there with gentle hands to pick us up and place us back on our paths.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you rest with us in mystery.

Holy God, you are the way. We live and move and have our being in you. Help us remember this moving forward. Give us peace for our journey. When we meet the stranger, fallen and battered on the road, be the Source of Love in us, so like good Samaritans, we tend to the wounded, taking them to safety.

Sung Response – O Pilgrim God, you rest with us in mystery.

CLOSING SONG
Promise to the Saints
Follow the wind. Follow the wind.
Let go your oars.
Sail to the land promised to the saints. (4x)
It is the voyage that makes us strong
so from this port follow the wind.
Follow the wind.

CLOSING BLESSING
God of wild edges and new horizons,
we seek your presence in those moments
when we feel out of place and miss the comforts of home.
Sustain our journey in the ache of strangeness,
the quiver of anxiety, the fear of doubt,
and help us discover a deeper knowing in the midst of it all
that doesn’t rely on us desperately clinging to our plans
but calls us to open to the discoveries
arriving on the doorstep within.
Help us hear the beating of our hearts
as a clarion call to hold the paradoxes of life:
communion and loss, beauty and suffering,
love and violence, as invitations into
a song of both lament and praise.
Let us be undone by the mystery
of it all, and then refashion us
into a wiser, humbler, and more compassionate wholeness.

SUNG AMEN

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer: Written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Welcome in the Stranger by Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Singing with Monks and Mystics

First Reading: Barbara Holmes, Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practice of the Black Church, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2004, page 4.

Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Psalm Translation: Wilda C. Gafney, A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church © 2021 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016, used by permission. (Year W) page 1-2.

Second Reading: John 4:7-9a, 10. Scripture quotation is from the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition. Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Prayers of Concern: Written by Claudia Love Mair

Sung Response:  Tune by Betsey Beckman, lyrics by Christine Valters Paintner and Simon de Voil, sung by Simon de Voil and Alexa Sunshine Rose

Closing Song:  Promise to the Saints by Carmel Boyle from the album Singing with Monks and Mystics

Closing Blessing: Written by Christine Valters Paintner to companion her book The Soul of a Pilgrim  (Ave Maria Press)

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.

Evening Prayer

Video podcast release TBD

OPENING PRAYER
God of Holy Mystery, rest with us in the growing darkness of the sky as we learn to embrace what we do not know. Sometimes we feel like we are travelling through a thicket of thorns, longing for the beauty of the rose to bloom. Steady us in the midst of the
rigor of the journey.

OPENING SONG
Maria Wanders through the Thorns
Maria wanders through the thorns
Kyrie Eleison
Maria wanders through the thorns
that for seven years no bloom has borne.
Jesus and Maria.
As with the Child she passes near
Kyrie Eleison
As with the Child she passes near
a red rose on the thorn appears.
Jesus and Maria.

SUNG PSALM OPENING
O Justice open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. (Repeat)

PSALM 130:5-8
I wait for the WOMB OF CREATION, my soul waits,
and in her word I hope.
My soul keeps watch for the Creator,
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
Israel, hope in the MOTHER OF CREATION!
For with the CREATOR OF ALL there is faithful love,
and with her is abundant redemption.
It is she who will redeem Israel
From all their iniquities.

SUNG DOXOLOGY
Glory to the Maker, Lover, and Keeper; as ago, in this breath, and will be ever. Amen, Amen.

READING OF THE NIGHT: Phil Cousineau
If your journey is indeed a pilgrimage, a soulful journey, it will be rigorous. Ancient wisdom suggests if you aren’t trembling as you approach the sacred, it isn’t the real thing. The sacred, in its various guises as holy ground, art, or knowledge, evokes emotion and commotion.

CLOSING POEM
Please can I have a God
(after Selima Hill)

not fossilized, hardened, stiff, unshaken,
not contained in creeds and testimonies,
judgments and stone tablets,
but in the wound breaking open.

Please can I have a God
who asks me to worship at the altar of mystery,
to lay aside certainty, and curl up
in the hollow of a great stone down by the river,
to hear the force of it rushing past.

Please can I have a God
with questions rather than answers,
who is not Rock or Fortress or Father,
but sashays, swerves, ripens, rages
at the rape of the earth.

Please can I have a God
whose voice is the sound of a girl, long silent from abuse,
now speaking her first word,
who is not sweetness or light, but the fierce utterance of
“no” in all the places where love has been extinguished.

Please can I have a God
the color of doubt, the shape of uncertainty,
who sees that within me dwells a multitude,
grief and joy, envy and generosity, rage and raucousness,
and anoints every last part.

Please can I have a God
who rolls her eyes with me at platitudes and pronouncements
and walks by my side in the early morning
across the wet field, together bare-footed and broken-hearted,
who is both mud and dew.

Please can I have a God
who is the vast indifference of forest and night sky,
who is both eclipse and radiance, silence and scream,
who is everything slow and dark and moist,
who is not measured, controlled, but ecstatic and dancing.

Please can I have a God
who is not the flame, but the flickering,
not bread, but the chewing and swallowing,
not Lover and Beloved, but the making love,
not the dog, but the joyful exuberance when I come home.

CLOSING SONG
I Am Here
I am here waiting for you.
I am here listening for you.
I am here praying for you.
I am here hoping for you.
I am here singing for you.

Credits

All songs and texts used with permission

Opening Prayer: Written by Christine Valters Paintner

Opening Song: Maria Wanders Through the Thorns by Kristy Karen Smith from the album Birthing the Holy: Singing with Mary and the Sacred Feminine

 Sung Psalm Opening and Doxology: Richard Bruxvoort Colligan from the album Monk in the World: Songs for Contemplative Living

Psalm Translation: Wilda C. Gafney, A Woman’s Lectionary for the Whole Church © 2021 Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY 10016, (Year W) page 203.

Reading of the Night: Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage, Conari Press, 2021. page xxix.

Closing Poem: “Please can I have a God.” Excerpted from The Soul of a Pilgrim, copyright ©2015 by Christine Valters Paintner. Used with permission of the publisher, Sorin Books®, an imprint of Ave Maria Press®, Inc., P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556, www.avemariapress.com.

Closing Song: I Am Here by Deirdre Ní Chinnéide from the album The Soul’s Slow Ripening: Songs for Celtic Seekers

Please note: All of the songs and prayer responses are published on CDs in the Abbey of the Arts collection. In addition, these songs & responses have accompanying gesture prayers and/or dances created by Betsey Beckman that can be found on the corresponding DVD (each album has a DVD companion).  Audio and video recordings of the Prayer Cycles are available at AbbeyoftheArts.com.